Friday, January 23, 2009

Kathy Schaidle on 'rebuilding'

Taking a few shots at David Frum's New Majority, the blogger/columnist writes:
Alas, too many of these "rebuilding" enterprises share a misguided focus that's also bound to be the seed of their own undoing: that is, an obsession with "winning elections."
NewMajority's slogan, for example, is "Building a conservatism that can win again."
But what good is "winning" if the "conservatism" that "wins" is faddish, unprincipled and unmoored from traditional American, Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism?
[B]ack in the early sixties, it was grassroots activist and housewife Phyllis Schlafly's self-published, million-selling anti-GOP Establishment book, A Choice Not An Echo, that led to Goldwater, who led to Reagan.
Not bad for a small-town mom running an accidental movement from her kitchen table, without email, the web -- or any support from Party bigshots.
Unless the "new GOP" is run bottom up, by the grass/net roots, it is doomed to fail.
Shaidle (who blogs at Five Feet of Fury) somewhat inflates Schlafly's role in the '64 Goldwater movement -- which was built by Young Americans for Freedom, Cliff White, William Middendorf, Bill Buckley and many others -- although there is no doubt that "A Choice Not an Echo" was a major factor in galvanizing grassroots support. As to the larger point, Kathy's correct that the GOP in recent years has tended toward a top-down method of operation that drained enthusiasm from the grassroots.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)


  1. Kathy's right on. What's the point of winning if you give up on most of the things you believe in?

  2. Indeed. The problem at hand is turning the Republicans back into a conservative party rather than a "nominally more conservative" party.